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[i:2flws6oa][b:2flws6oa]He said the document would be made public soon, but refused to give details about the commission’s conclusions. [/b:2flws6oa][/i:2flws6oa]

The article covers both speculation and the personal opinion of a variety of clerics, Cardinal Martini, a noted liberal who has been described as follows……

Often considered to be one of the more liberal members of the College of Cardinals, and prelates in general, he has achieved widespread notice for his wide-ranging and open-minded writings, earning him popularity in some circles, criticism in others. On occasion Martini’s viewpoints have proven to be somewhat controversial, thus bringing him comparatively large amounts of media coverage.

In April 2006, in response to a very specific question from the bioethicist Ignazio Marino, director of the transplant center of the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Martini admitted that in certain cases, the usage of condoms might be allowable stating, “The use of condoms can, in certain situations, be a lesser evil”.[1] He stressed the particular case of married couples where one has HIV or AIDS.[2] But he quickly noted that it’s one thing the principle of the lesser evil in such cases, and quite another the subject who has to convey those things publicly, thus it is not up to the Church authorities to support condom use publicly, because of “the risk of promoting an irresponsible attitude”. The Church is more likely to support other morally sustainable means, such as abstinence.[3] On another occasion the Cardinal also stated that “I believe the Church’s teaching has not been expressed so well… I am confident we will find some formula to state things better, so that the problem is better understood and more adapted to reality,” earning him a reputation for having a more liberal stance toward contraception.[4] The Cardinal’s position on the start of a distinct human life during the fetilization of oocytes was rebuked by certain Vatican officials.[5] Some of Martini’s other positions may have frustrated Church leaders, but official response from the Roman Curia was limited.

Cardinal Martini, speaking about the right to die debate said that “terminally ill patients should be given the right to refuse treatments and that the doctors who assist them should be protected by law.”[6]

He has also called for greater collegiality in the governance of the Church and for the possibility of female deacons to be examined.[7]

In March 2007 he openly criticised the attitude of the Church authorities, whilst speaking at the basilica of the Nativity to a congregation of over 1,300 visitors, he remarked that “The Church does not give orders.” Martini also stated that “It is necessary to listen to others, and when speaking to use terms that they understand.” These remarks came days after Pope Benedict XVI published the 140 page ‘Apostolic Exhortation.’ Some interpreted this document as being an attempt to influence Catholic politicians, particularly at a time when Italian government was trying to pass legislation offering legal recognition of same sex unions.[8]

Cardinal Martini has been critical of the style in which the Church is organized, seeing it as being far too centralized. [i:2flws6oa]Throughout his career Martini has established a reputation that demonstrates a desire to maintain an open dialogue about contraception, human sexuality and women’s role in the church, among other contentious issues[/i:2flws6oa], many consider that Martini may yearn for another Vatican council. Furthermore, he has also called for the church to take a greater role in combating social injustice, often calling for greater action to be taking in assisting the immigrants, minorities and the combating of racism. Martini wishes for the church to rekindle the “burning fire in the heart.”

1. BBC. Cardinal backs limited condom use April 21, 2006
2. L’Espresso. When Does Life Begin? Cardinal Martini Replies May 20, 2006
3. BBC. Profile: Cardinal Carlo Martini April 19, 2005
4. L’Espresso. Carlo Maria Martini’s “Day After” May 20, 2006
5. National Catholic Reporter. The schism that hasn’t been between Ratzinger and Martini February 20, 2007
6. Catholic World News. Cardinal Martini repeats call for decentralized Church government April 7, 2004
7. PinkNews. Cardinal says Pope should stop giving orders March 16, 2007